Mitra's Method: Stephen "weezer" Spiteri's Age of Conan ColumnAge of Conan Editorial: A Tale of Two CitiesMitra's Method: Stephen "weezer" Spiteri's Age of Conan Column - RSS 2.0
The distance and the potentially poorer gaming experience we understand is something we'll just have to deal with, but what of the future for Asian and Oceanic players of 'Age of Conan'? I completely understand that establishing a server in any location of the world is a very expensive operation, and could only be worthwhile given that a company like Funcom could foresee remuneration that justifies the expense of setting up the server in the first place. Obviously, the larger markets for 'Age of Conan' are the European and North American, but it has been shown in other MMOs that there have been a large number of Asian and Oceanic players connecting to such games, so it would be unfair to say that there is no market for these regions. Am I saying we're being underestimated? Perhaps I'm implying that, but what I am going to say quite explicitly is that there is good reason to establish servers in other parts of the world to accommodate those who face the conundrum of having to choose between two cities.
As MMOs are largely becoming more of a social phenomenon rather than a technological one, it's important to acknowledge that because of time differences between parts of the world, players are now opting to join servers or join with guilds that are able to cater to individual play schedules and so forth. Players from the US have opted to join Australian and Oceanic-based guilds because that player might work night-shift in the US, and so the individual play schedule would match those of the Australians and Oceanics.
So slowly, as technology gets faster a better, the concern shifts from latency time and physical distance from client to server, to being able to provide customers with the opportunity to get the best social experience out of the MMOs that they play.
Quietly, I am confident that even from here in Perth, Western Australia, I will be able to enjoy 'Age of Conan' to its fullest potential even playing on the US (New Jersey) servers (that's a distance of approximately 16,000km by the way), but here's to hoping for the game's global success and expansion from servers in just two cities, to many around the world as the profile of the game rises.
Until next fortnight, this is Stephen "weezer" Spiteri,
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© Stephen Spiteri, November 2007